[XeTeX] Greek XeLaTeX

Khaled Hosny khaledhosny at eglug.org
Tue Oct 12 15:00:21 CEST 2010

On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 01:54:13PM +0200, Ulrike Fischer wrote:
> Am Tue, 12 Oct 2010 11:13:41 +0200 schrieb Khaled Hosny:
> >>> The idea behind the changes is that a writer of greek text (or
> >>> arab, chinese etc.) should not be obliged to change his/her
> >>> computer keyboard to latin for the commands and back again for
> >>> the text. Also the names of the commands would be more
> >>> transparent for non-english speakers.
> >> At my opinion this won't work and it isn't a good idea. A class
> >> which defines alternatives in greek for the frequently used commands
> >> like \section or itemize is ok. But there are thousands of packages
> >> for (Xe)LaTeX on CTAN. Do you want to translate them all? Together
> >> with their documentation? 
> > 
> > ConTeXt has localised formats in many languages and the world did not
> > fall apart (ConTeXt has built-in support for localising the interface),
> Well I don't know much about ConTeXt, but at first ConTeXt is a
> rather monolitic and selfcontained format. It doesn't have to handle
> lots of packages. Also I have some doubts that this localised
> formats translates really everything down to units like mm or
> numbers to other scripts. Or is their an completly arabic
> counterpart to \includegraphics[width=10cm,scale=5]{...}? To repeat
> me: I don't see a problem to localize document commands like
> \section. 

I don't know, I'm yet to try it (on my long todo list, but I know there
is a Persian interface for example).

> > also I know for a project that is/was building an Arabised LaTeX format
> > and AFAIK they localised the most common packages and left the rest, but
> > the fact that LaTeX has no built-in support for such localisation makes
> > it a bit impractical, may be LaTeX3 (if it ever released) would be
> > convinced to have such support.
> I remember a discussion where someone tried to replace the numbers
> (in the input, e.g. in assignments like \parskip=10pt) by their
> counterparts in some other script.  Perhaps it could be done by
> luatex.

For scripts like Arabic you can't really do without it; apart from being
totally align, it breaks the directionality of the text in makes near
impossible to handle in a sane way.

> But what to do with primitives like \pdfoutput or
> \baselineskip or \write or ...

It can be translated as well, I recall the TeX-e-Prasi engine having
special primitives just for that, so seems that others have attempted to
do that. Generally I'm not discussing the technical details, but whether
something should be done or not, technical problems are here to be

> > 
> >> Also: How will a user of a fully localized format be able to get
> >> help from the XeTeX-community? How will such a user be able to give
> >> something back to the XeTeX-community by writing a package?
> > 
> > And the target audience of such localised format is unable to neither
> > use TeX or get support at all (remind you, they don't know English),
> > so they either use TeX in their mother language or not use it at all, I
> > certainly prefer the former.
> Or they learn some english ;-). On the french and the german group
> they are sometimes people who don't speak english. Their problem is
> not with command names nor (naturally because of the identical
> script) with numbers and units but with documentation and getting
> support. I do understand that for people which use a different
> scripts in their mother tongue command names and numbers are more
> problematic. Nevertheless I would say the priorities should lie on
> documentation and support forums/list/groups is the various
> languages, intelligent editors which allows entering the needed
> chars from ASCII easily, and translating the main commands of a
> small number of standard classes and packages. 

Basically it is all Greek to them ;) I, myself, not going to use a Greek
based TeX like system no mutter how good and extensive documentation in
my language it might have, I just can't use it. So, what sets the
priority is your target audience.


 Khaled Hosny
 Arabic localiser and member of Arabeyes.org team
 Free font developer

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